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LSA Washington – June 22, 2010

A regular publication from the LSA Public Policy Office

Work Continues on Senate Jobs Legislation

After two votes to limit debate on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 failed in the Senate, Democratic leaders are attempting to further modify the bill to secure the 60 votes needed to end debate. Several of the provisions which add to the cost of the bill are considered to be emergency spending, including the extension of the enhanced FMAP rate and unemployment insurance, and are therefore not subject to the pay-as-you-go rule. But concerns about the federal deficit are causing some Senators who voted for similar provisions in March to hold their support for the legislation unless the cost is offset; the most recent version was estimated to cost $118 billion and to have a $55 billion impact on the federal deficit.

On Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) iannounced the Senate would take up the bill again this week, indicating but not specifying further changes to the bill. One option the Democratic leadership might consider is removing the FMAP and unemployment insurance provisions to be voted upon separately. On Friday Senate leadership pulled the Medicare "doc fix" out of the bill for a separate vote; it was passed unanimously, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated the House would not take up the doc fix legislation without further Senate action on an overall jobs and tax extenders bill. Calls to all Senators to advocate for passage of this critical legislation are still needed; for more information, please visit the Take Action page on LSA's website.

Provisions which LSA is advocating support for in the Senate bill include:

  • A six-month extension of the enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate
  • Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund of $1 billion, plus $65 million for project-based vouchers
  • The reinstatement of the IRA charitable rollover tax provision
  • An extension of unemployment insurance (UI) and COBRA benefits
  • An extension of the TANF Emergency Fund through September 30, 2011.

For more information, please contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Free Webinar: Voter Participation Basics for Nonprofits

Nonprofit Vote is offering a free Webinar on voter participation basics for nonprofits, the first in a series of leading up to the 2010 elections. To register for the Thursday, July 1, 2:00-3:00 ET Webinar, please click here. Topics will include principles and ideas for voter registration, voter education, engaging the candidates and getting out the vote in the course of ongoing activities. There will be opportunities for question and answers throughout the training.

LSA member organizations are encouraged to participate in this Webinar and to begin planning organizational involvement in the election process. In addition to this series, information on nonprofit engagement in the electoral process can be found on LSA's website.

Look for more information from LSA on this topic in the coming months. In the meantime, please e-mail Lisa Hassenstab or Meg Cooch with any questions.

Many Opportunities for Involvement in Healthcare Implementation

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March, directed the creation of many new task forces, advisory boards, commissions and opportunities for stakeholder involvement in the implementation of healthcare reform. Nominations have already begun and notices sent out about some of the more than 45 new entities. These boards and committees serve as a great opportunity for services providers such as LSA and LSA-DN members to participate and to provide their unique faith-based voice as healthcare and long term services and supports changes develop. June 30 is the deadline for submission of candidates for the National Healthcare Workforce Commission. For more information, see this grid put together by Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal, LLP and e-mail Meg Cooch or Lisa Hassenstab.

Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act Introduced

On June 16, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act (H.R. 5533), which would provide opportunities to study and strengthen the partnership between nonprofit organizations and the federal government. Key provisions of the legislation include the establishment of a council on nonprofit organizations and community solutions, as well as an interagency working group for federal agencies "to improve policy coordination among agencies in their dealings with nonprofit organizations to enhance outcomes and accountability." The legislation would also direct the Department of Commerce to compile "data on nonprofits and develop metrics for performance, establish reporting requirements, and expand information so Congress can make well-informed policy decisions on nonprofit legislation."

For more information please click here or contact Lisa Hassenstab via e-mail or at 202-626-7932.

Health Care Reform and the Aging Population: Free Webinar

On Wednesday, June 23, from 2:00-3:30 PM ET, the National Legal Resource Center, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging, will be offering a free Webinar presenting an overview of provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which impact older adults. Particular focus will be given to the Medicaid long term services and supports provisions, provisions relating to long term care facilities, and the changes that will have a particular impact on dual eligibles, such as certain changes to Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage.

To register for the Webinar, please click here.

Join National Discussion on the Federal Budget on June 26

America Speaks, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to engaging citizens in dialogue about American democracy, is hosting a National Town Meeting on Saturday, June 26, to discuss the U.S. budget and economy. Nineteen cities are scheduled to play host to meeting sites connected by satellite video, webcast and other interactive technologies: Albuquerque, NM; Augusta, ME; Casper, WY; Chicago, IL; Columbia, SC; Dallas, TX; Des Moines, IA; Detroit, MI; Grand Forks, ND; Jackson, MS; Overland Park, KS; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Missoula, MT; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Portsmouth, NH; Richmond, VA; and San Jose, CA. Input from these conversations will inform the newly created National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the "deficit commission" created by executive order by President Obama earlier this year.

Representatives of nonprofit organizations are being encouraged to attend to speak about the services their organization provides and their impact on the community. Participants must register in advance of the meeting; when possible, child care, transportation assistance and translation services will be provided. All meeting sites will be ADA accessible. If a meeting site is not available near you, please consider starting a community conversation near you.

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